Category Archives: History

Greek Mythology

Around 700 BC, the poet Hesiod’s Theogony offered the first written cosmogony, or origin story, of Greek mythology. The Theogony tells the story of the universe’s journey from nothingness (Chaos, a primeval void) to being, and details an elaborate family tree of elements, gods and goddesses who evolved from Chaos and descended from Gaia (Earth), Ouranos (Sky), Pontos (Sea) and Tartaros (the Underworld).

Pantheon

Greek Mythology: The Olympians

At the center of Greek mythology is the pantheon of deities who were said to live on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. From their perch, they ruled every aspect of human life. Olympian gods and goddesses looked like men and women (though they could change themselves into animals and other things) and were–as many myths recounted–vulnerable to human foibles and passions.

The twelve main Olympians are:

  • Zeus (Jupiter, in Roman mythology): the king of all the gods (and father to many) and god of weather, law and fate
  • Hera (Juno): the queen of the gods and goddess of women and marriage
  • Aphrodite (Venus): goddess of beauty and love
  • Apollo (Apollo): god of prophesy, music and poetry and knowledge
  • Ares (Mars): god of war
  • Artemis (Diana): goddess of hunting, animals and childbirth
  • Athena (Minerva): goddess of wisdom and defense
  • Demeter (Ceres): goddess of agriculture and grain
  • Dionysos (Bacchus): god of wine, pleasure and festivity
  • Hephaistos (Vulcan): god of fire, metalworking and sculpture
  • Hermes (Mercury): god of travel, hospitality and trade and Zeus’s personal messenger
  • Poseidon (Neptune): god of the sea

Other gods and goddesses sometimes included in the roster of Olympians are:

  • Hades (Pluto): god of the underworld
  • Hestia (Vesta): goddess of home and family
  • Eros (Cupid): god of sex and minion to Aphrodite
Temple of Zeus the Olympian

Greek Mythology: Heroes and Monsters

Greek mythology does not just tell the stories of gods and goddesses, however.

Human heroes–such as Heracles, the adventurer who performed 12 impossible labors for King Eurystheus (and was subsequently worshipped as a god for his accomplishment); Pandora, the first woman, whose curiosity brought evil to mankind; Pygmalion, the king who fell in love with an ivory statue; Arachne, the weaver who was turned into a spider for her arrogance; handsome Trojan prince Ganymede who became the cupbearer for the gods; Midas, the king with the golden touch; and Narcissus, the young man who fell in love with his own reflection–are just as significant. Monsters and “hybrids” (human-animal forms) also feature prominently in the tales: the winged horse Pegasus, the horse-man Centaur, the lion-woman Sphinx and the bird-woman Harpies, the one-eyed giant Cyclops, automatons (metal creatures given life by Hephaistos), manticores and unicorns, Gorgons, pygmies, minotaurs, satyrs and dragons of all sorts. Many of these creatures have become almost as well known as the gods, goddesses and heroes who share their stories.

Temple of Apollos in Naxos

Reference: https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/greek-mythology

Ancient Ruins in Athens

A walk around Athens and you’d surely come up to a important ancient sites from the Classical and Roman times

The Acroplis

The Acropolis also called the Sacred Rock, is the most important ancient heritage of the country. It is also the trademark and most famous site of Athens and of Greece. It has been the main attraction of Athens since the 5th century BC and is dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and protector of the city.

Acropolis

The Parthenon

The Parthenon, the most famous ancient Greek temple ever, stands proudly over the modern megalopolis of Athens, a reminder of the great civilization he has witnessed. The Acropolis can be seen from almost every part of Athens. It was and still is, without any doubt, the ultimate achievement of the city classical and architectural glory

Parthenon

Herodeion Theatre

The Herodeion Theatre is one of the most impressive monuments of Athens and it is today hosting the Athens Festival with performances of theatre, music, and dance. The theatre is open to visitors only during performances. It is located at the south slope of the Acropolis and was added in 161 AD during the Roman rule. The theatre was built by Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Roman, in memory of his wife Regilla. It has exceptional acoustic capacities and can sit up to 5,000 spectators. It has a facade of 28 m high and 2,4 m width.

Herodeion Theatre

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved Doric temple in Greece. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, the god of the forge, hence the reason why the temple used to be in the center of numerous metalwork shops and foundries. It was built during Pericles rebuilding program.

Temple of Hephaestus

Temple of Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus took 700 years to be built and is the larger that was ever created. The work was completed by Emperor Hadrian in 131 AD. The huge Temple is composed of 104 Corinthian columns of 17 m high. Very little is left of his greatness today since only 17 columns are still standing.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic (Roman) Stadium was built in the 4th century BC. It was hosting the Panathenaic Athletic contests. Herodes Atticus inaugurated the stadium when he rebuilds the seats with Pentelic marble. The stadium was strangely abandoned for centuries. It was finally restored in order to welcome the first modern Olympic Games of 1896.

Arch of Hadrian

Arch of Hadrian

The Arch of Hadrian was built by Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD in order to mark the limit between Ancient Athens and his new city. It is also a commemoration of the consecration of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It is located at the end of Amalias Avenue.

Source: https://www.greeka.com/attica/athens/ancient-sites/